After a 2.5 year review, Health Canada approved RU-486 (Mifegymiso) a pill for terminating pregnancies up to a gestational age of 49 days. This pill was first approved in France in 1988 and has since been approved in more than 60 countries and included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
Mifegymiso is a combination of two drugs, mifepristone, which blocks progesterone a hormone needed to sustain preganancy, and misoprostol which causes the uterus to contract.
Its approval provides Canadian women with a more effective medical option for abortion compared to the current combination of the anticancer injectable drug, methotrexate, and misoprostol, and is expected to improve abortion access in the country, particularly in rural areas. However, its approval doesn’t come without controversy, with many believing Canada should not make abortion access easier and expressing concern over potential side effects and complications of the pill.
Mifegymiso will require a prescription by a physician who has first completed a required education and registration program. It is expected to be available for sale in the winter of 2016.